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Published July 27, 2011, 03:52 PM

Defense rests in alleged murder-for-hire case

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Attorneys for an Oklahoma man accused in a murder-for-hire scheme in North Dakota rested their case Wednesday without calling the defendant, as promised.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Attorneys for an Oklahoma man accused in a murder-for-hire scheme in North Dakota rested their case Wednesday without calling the defendant, as promised.

Gene Kirkpatrick has pleaded not guilty to hiring his handyman to kill his former son-in-law, Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso. Kirkpatrick says he talked with Michael Nakvinda about what it would take to get rid of Gattuso, but never gave the final order. Nakvinda was convicted of murder.

Earlier in the trial defense attorney Mack Martin had said he planned to have Kirkpatrick testify.

A psychiatrist said Wednesday that Kirkpatrick fit the clinical definition of major depression and said it's not unusual for people in that condition to "rant" to others. Kirkpatrick claims he was only venting to Nakvinda.

Closing arguments are set for Thursday morning.

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